BORUSSIA DORTMUND 6-1 STUTTGART (BUNDESLIGA)
Robert Lewandowski’s second half hat trick inspired Borussia Dortmund to their biggest win of the season over a poor Stuttgart side and set them up perfectly for their midweek Champions League tie against Arsenal.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos came in for a rested Neven Subotic in the centre of the Dortmund defence while ex-Dortmund man Moritz Leitner started for Stuttgart who were also boosted by the inclusion of Daniel Schwaab after the centre back was an injury concern.
The game started very evenly with both sides cancelling each other out but it almost exploded into life after nine minutes. Dortmund won a throw-in on the right which fell to Polish winger Jakub Blaszczykowski who hit an ambitious half volley from the right wing. The strike was dipping into Sven Ulreich’s net but the Stuttgart keeper managed to brilliantly tip it over the bar. It was an excellent save to match an excellent strike from Blaszczykowski.
Minutes later though, the visitors were threatening. 17 year old winger Timo Werner managed to win a free kick out on the left from makeshift full back Kevin Großkreutz. Romanian set piece specialist Alexandru Maxim went for goal from the wing and forced Roman Weidenfeller to tip over for a corner and that would prove costly for Dortmund. Maxim took a beautiful outswinging corner from the right which Mats Hummels missed for Dortmund but summer Stuttgart signing Karim Haggui didn’t. The Tunisian defender headed it into the ground from the penalty spot and was delighted to see the ball go over Nuri Sahin’s despairing leap on the line and into the net. It came completely out of nowhere and was Haggui’s first goal for Stuttgart.
The Stuttgart lead did not last long though. Dortmund got a cheap corner on the left just six minutes after the Stuttgart goal which Nuri Sahin took. The Real Madrid loanee’s outswinger was met by Greek defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos who headed home from ten yards out. It was the Greek international’s first goal for Dortmund and a crucial one as well as the home side quickly built on it.
Just moments after he had mis-controlled a Henrikh Mkhitaryan pass when clean through, Marco Reus put Dortmund in front. Marcel Schmelzer gave the German international the ball on the left where Reus turned and ran at the defence. He shrugged off a couple of tackles before running through Haggui’s tackle. He kept his composure on the edge of the area and struck an unerring shot into the bottom corner with his left foot.
That goal gave the home side added confidence and momentum and they pressed Stuttgart back without creating too many openings. Sahin headed high and wide from a Reus corner before Lewandowski got his first sniff of goal. A long ball from Hummels was allowed to get to Lewnadowski about 25 yards out in the middle of goal. He spotted Ulreich off his line and tried the outrageous scooped chip which fell wide. It was an inventive attempt on goal but fruitless and it could have been costly.
Young winger Werner was at it again just four minutes before half time as he skipped past three or four Dortmund challenges on the left before getting into the box. Großkreutz stepped across him and the youngster went down which prompted Florian Meyer to blow his whistle. Confusion reigned though as Meyer started to point to the spot before allowing himself a minute to think and then giving a drop ball. It was an odd decision based on the fact that he had no idea of what had happened. Replays showed that there was minimal contact and that Werner had thrown himself to the ground to try and win a penalty.
Both sides went in at half time relatively happy with their performance and when they came back out, it was Stuttgart who looked to press Dortmund back into their own half. And nine minutes into the half, they got a good chance to level. Großkreutz’s touch from a high ball went straight to Vedad Ibisevic on the edge of the penalty area. The Bosnian striker looked to be clear through before he was taken out by Sokratis. The Greek defender only got a yellow for the foul but it gave Stuttgart and Maxim a great position for the free kick. Unfortunately, the Romanian could not keep his effort down and it sailed over the bar. They were quickly made to pay by Lewandowski.
The ball was worked out to the right where Blaszczykowski sent in a high cross. It was headed out by Schwaab but only as far as Großkreutz on the edge of the box who headed it back in to Marco Reus. The German had his back to goal and was crowded by Stuttgart defenders but he cleverly backheeled the ball to Lewandowski who made no mistake from six yards out. Stuttgart hands went up for offside against both Lewandowski and Reus but the replays showed that they were played onside by ball watching right back Gotoku Sakai. And that was only the beginning for Lewandowski.
Barely a minute after his first, the Polish striker was celebrating his second. Another long ball from the halfway – this time from the excellent Henrikh Mkhitaryan – line split open the Stuttgart defence as Sakai couldn’t deal with it. This allowed Lewandowski a run on goal and he calmly finished it past Ulreich first time with his left foot. It was another horrible piece of defending from Stuttgart who were beginning to become more and more ragged.
Dortmund began to ease off the pressure a little after the fourth but were still comfortably in control of the game and creating openings. Lewandowski had a good chance for his hat trick when he played an inadvertent one two with Mkhitaryan but could only volley at Ulreich under pressure while Mkhitaryan shot over from the edge of the area after good work from Blaszczykowski to keep in a wayward cross from substitute Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Dortmund did eventually get their fifth goal and, typically, it came from a Stuttgart error. Haggui’s pass out of defence was sloppy and straight to Sven Bender who played it first time to Lewandowski. The striker was 25 yards out and quickly laid it into the path of an overlapping Blaszczykowski to his right. The winger’s shot was saved by Ulreich who had come off his line and his save only deflected the ball off the woodwork and back into play where Lewandowski gobbled up the rebound from all of two yards. It was yet another hat trick for the Polish striker and Dortmund fans certainly want him to stay.
The pressure wasn’t off for Stuttgart by any means. Aubameyang’s pace was causing Sakai huge problems down the Dortmund left and it was the Gabon internationals cross that almost gave Lewandowski a tap in for his fourth. Only some alert defending from Schwaab denied him. Aubameyang himself forced a good stop from a busy Ulreich after he was put through by fellow substitute and ex-Stuttgart man Julian Schieber. It wouldn’t be long before Aubameyang was on the scoresheet though.
A Stuttgart attack ended up in the arms of Weidenfeller who quickly threw it out to Blaszczykowksi. He released Lewandowski down the left and the striker checked back onto his right foot and switched the play to Aubameyang who had joined him in attack. The bouncing ball was tough for the substitute to control but under pressure from Mortiz Leitner he managed to fashion a lob over Ulreich from a tight angle. Lewandowski helped it into the net but Aubameyang celebrated the goal and the replays gave it to him which only continued his great start in the Bundesliga.
That also proved to be the last bit of action from the game as well. Dortmund prepared themselves well for the visit of Arsenal in midweek but will be concerned that full back Marcel Schmelzer had to go off injured late on. Stuttgart on the other hand will be bitterly dissapointed at not only the scoreline but the silly mistakes they made in defence. Any more and they could be in for a battle later on in the season.
Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller, Großkreutz, Sokratis, Hummels, Schmelzer (Durm 71), Sahin, Bender, Blaszczykowski, Mkhitaryan (Schieber 76), Reus (Aubameyang 59), Lewandowski
Subs: Langerak, Subotic, Hofmann, Kirch
Goal: Sokratis, Reus, Lewandowski (3)
Stuttgart: Ulreich, Sakai, Schwaab, Haggui, Boka, Kvist, Gentner (c), Leitner (Traoré 85), Maxim, Werner (Harnik 74), Ibisevic (Abdellaoue 68)
Subs: Kirschbaum, Niedermeier, Sararer, Rausch
MAN OF THE MATCH: ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI (BORUSSIA DORTMUND)